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With so much Pacific coastline, the opportunities for great surfing in Costa Rica abound. Unlike many other beaches around the world, on Costa Rica, the best surfing beaches are generally not suitable for swimming or for young children, predominantly owing to deceptively strong riptides and rip currents, which can catch even the wariest off guard.
As specialists in creating unique adventure tours in Costa Rica, part of our 8-day Adventure Tour includes a day of snorkeling or surfing. However, we are also aware from the clients we have arranged individual packages for, that for some of you, one day of surfing just isn’t enough. That perhaps is helped by the fact that we have the Salsa Brave.
Salsa Brava surfing, Costa Rica
One of the most challenging, and dangerous surf spots in the world, it is hard to avoid mention of Salsa Brava when the conversation turns to the best surf in Costa Rica. Found off Puerto Viejo in Limón province, the translation of the most famous break in Costa Rica is “angry sauce”, which seems quite apt. December through to march will see the best breaks, where heavy Hawaiian-style barrel waves develop in deep water, before breaking over the shallow reef, while swell will hold up to 16 feet, which should all tell you that Salsa Brava is a wave for seasoned surfers only. However, at the sides there is plenty or room for those of you who are less experienced, and there are also lessons available for beginners.
“The best surfer in the lineup is the one having the most fun”
This comment is attributed to the late Stuart Entwistle, and any surfer will know exactly what he meant. As for where those waves are, much will depend on how much surfing you have done before, but fortunately, where surfing in Costa Rica is concerned, there is plenty of choice for all levels, with plenty of opportunity for beginners to take lessons in some of the best locations in the world.
Top 10 surfing locations in Costa Rica
You can’t beat a bit of local knowledge, so here at Costa Rica Rios we have put together a selection of the top 10 beaches for surfing in Costa Rica that we feel confident will offer great surfing for everyone:
- Playa Guiones, Nosara – good for beginners but the swell can create challenging breaks for even the best surfers.
- Playa Tamarindo, Tamarindo – offshore winds, reefs and long sandy beaches makes this a surfing Mecca for all levels.
- Little Hawaii, Playa Avellanas – the name should give you a clue as this beach is suitable only for expert surfers. Don’t forget to visit Lola’s café when you’re wiped out from being wiped out!
- Playa Hermosa, Jaco – the fact this location is home to the International Quicksilver Championship should tell you all you need to know…
- Pavones – perhaps the best surfing beach in Costa Rica, the adjacent town of Pavones would likely not exist without it. Not easy to get to, but as it is home to the second-longest left-hand surf break anywhere on the planet, it will be worth it.
- Playa Naranjo / Witches Rock – Not for the feint hearted – take a boat to Withes rock, surf for a few hours in the afternoon, then settle down to an evening on the beach, and camping overnight.
- Mal Pais – originally a small fishing village, this has become a year-round surfing destination comprising three beaches, Playa Carmen, Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. Lots of surfing shops and entertainment in the area.
- Playa Negra – location for The Endless Summer II and renowned for its right-hand barrels and home to many year-round surfers.
- Playa Dominical – something for surfers of all levels thanks to the two-mile-long beach and surf that runs the full length. Watch out for riptides, stingrays and jellyfish!
Specializing in adventure vacations in Costa Rica, here at Costa Rica Rios, aside from our 8-day Adventure Tour and, we can create individual, bespoke adventure packages, including a Honeymoon Adventure Holiday, to concentrate on your favored activities.
It is hard to resist the allure of Costa Rica if you like exploring and are looking for the adventure of a lifetime, so take advantage of our local knowledge and give us a call. We’ll be glad to talk you through all you can expect from an adventure vacation in Costa Rica, and happily answer any questions you may have.